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4 San Diego Group Bike Rides to Check Out

Take your cycling to the next level by riding in a pack


Group rides with the San Diego Bicycle Club rolls out of UC Cyclery every weekend morning. | Photo by Tim Ingersoll

We've talked about some fun cycling-related things here during National Bike Month—the ultimate San Diego mountain bike ride, our region's triumphant start of the Amgen Tour of California, and tips on bike commuting. For the last bike month post, I wanted to give you some ideas about one of the most fun parts of cycling—group rides.

Whether you're in a pace line hammering up Torrey Pines, or talking about the best way down a tough trail on your mountain bike, group rides offer a fun way for cyclists at any level to exercise, improve their skills, and have a great time on their bikes. San Diego, of course, has group rides in spades, and in my experience they are always welcoming to new riders.

Here are some local group bike rides to check out.

San Diego Bicycle Club Rides

If you're interested in improving your road game, head to UC Cyclery near UCSD on any weekend morning at about 8 a.m. If you drive in, you'll likely pass multiple groups heading to the San Diego Bicycle Club's regular Saturday or Sunday group ride—or rides to be more accurate. There may be as many as eight groups that go out—from “no-drop” beginner rides for those just learning about riding in packs, to racers training for the season where “if you are not in top form, you can expect to be dropped during the ride.” These different SDBC groups of 20-40 riders are likely the ones you see riding in close quarters throughout the region, and they are very welcoming. Get there early to talk to the leaders about which group you should join—they’ll have maps and make sure you get set up for the ride, which typically go for a few hours and about 25 miles and up.

SDMBA's Meet Up Rides

A group mountain bike ride through Penasquitos Canyon. | Photo by Andy George

If taking your mountain bike out on any of the region’s trails is more your style, there are plenty of options on that front as well. The San Diego Mountain Biking Association’s Meetup Group now has more than 900 members and offers ongoing ride options in areas like Black Mountain, Mission Trails, and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Each posted ride will have trail descriptions, distance and difficulty ratings, with kid- and female-specific rides as well. GirlsGoneRiding is another active local group with a San Diego Chapter for female mountain bikers.\

Ride like a ninja on Tuesday nights

Looking to take your trail rides to the next level? Certified cycling coach Richard La China has a regular Tuesday night training ride near Balboa Park with different groups for those interested in improving their mountain biking skills and speed. You can get the specifics here at Team Ninja’s website—they also offer a plethora of weekend skills clinics throughout Southern California.

Your LBS shop ride

Any local bike shop (LBS) worth your business likely has a shop ride. These can run the gamut from beginner rides on local trails to hammer-fests with their sponsored riders—just ask the folks there what they suggest. This can be a great way to learn about trail networks in your area too. Many shops will offer annual demo days which make great opportunities for you to try out new bikes on the trails, including many bikes from San Diego-based companies.

They key with any group ride is to show up, ask questions, and be ready for a good time. Cyclists out on a weekend ride are more than likely having fun exercising and doing one of their favorite hobbies—and new people are almost always welcome.

Want to really make a good first impression? Bring some locally crafted, ice-cold post-ride refreshments—and add any group rides you’d like to invite people to in the comments below.

May is National Bike Month. We're celebrating the many reasons to ride this month with a series of blog posts exploring biking in San Diego. 

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